‘Old folks in black pyjamas, waving their arms about’ or ‘Meditation in Motion’. Which is it?
Actually both, plus much, much more.
Tai Chi Ch’uan (Supreme Ultimate Fist) is an exercise system, the formal structure of which was founded hundreds of years ago
in China. It is however an exercise system like no other, because it works on all levels of our being. The most obvious is the physical aspect - strengthening, toning, improving balance and co-ordination. Then
there are the internal aspects - there are movements designed to exercise the internal organs, massaging them by stretching and compression - and also to stimulate the flow of internal energy, ‘Qi’,
throughout the body along the meridian system. Add to that the mental aspect - improved concentration, while paradoxically meditating - unifying the mind and body during practice - producing states of relaxation
while giving the body a workout! And then there is the spiritual aspect - now Tai Chi itself is not a religion - even while it was being created, it was practised by Buddhists, Taoists, Confucianists(is that
really a word??). The theory may be built upon an oriental worldview, but to be an adept practitioner doesn’t require this to be adopted. However a study of it does give an insight into the Chinese
understanding of the nature of the universe - and other practices like Feng Shui suddenly become clearer.
Nonetheless all the health benefits will simply follow from regular physical practice.
And finally, hidden inside all this there is also a potent martial art, with attack & defence applications in almost
every move, and a set of weapons forms (long sword, broad sword, staff and fan) should you decide to follow this path at a later date.
So you see, there is more to it than black pyjamas.
Why is it practiced slowly? - well, if I give you all the answers now, you won’t come to a workshop!